How to Reformat an iPod

Restore an older iPod to factory settings

Apple iPod Classic
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If you have one of the older iPod versions, such as an iPod Classic, iPod Nano, or iPod Shuffle, and you need to wipe all your personal data from the device, it's possible to restore it to factory settings. This erases all the information on the iPod.

You'd do this if you were selling the device or simply wanted to start fresh. You'd also need to restore your iPod to factory settings if it's formatted for a Mac and you want to format it for Windows instead.

Here's how to restore your iPod Classic, iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, or other older iPod to factory settings.

Since these gadgets are pre-iOS devices, the process is different from restoring an iPod touch or restoring an iPhone to factory settings.

Restore an Older iPod to Factory Settings

To restore your iPod to factory settings, you'll need a Mac or PC running the latest version of iTunes.

Before you begin this process, make sure to back up your iTunes library. After you reformat your iPod, you may want to reload it with music, movies, and other data.

  1. Open iTunes on your Mac or PC. (On a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15, open Finder.)

  2. Connect your iPod to your computer using the sync cable.

  3. Select your iPod when it appears on your computer.

  4. Select Restore to return the iPod to factory settings with the same iPod software version. Or, select Use Newest Version to restore your iPod with the latest iPod software version. (You won't see these options if you're already using the latest versions of iTunes and iPod software.)

  5. Select Restore again to confirm and start the process. The iPod will go dark during the reset. Keep the device connected.

  6. When it's finished, you'll see the iTunes setup assistant. Follow the prompts, entering your name and other information, as if you were setting up a new iPod.

  7. Enjoy your device!

    Even though restoring your iPod to factory settings erases your music, photos, and data, this can all be reloaded to your iPod when it's synced to iTunes for the first time.